Council of Europe body expresses serious concern over judicial appointments bill
A European anti-corruption watchdog has called on the Government to reconsider laws that would make changes to the judicial selection regime in Ireland, RTÉ News reports.
The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, which is currently going through the Seanad, would see a new body, with a lay majority as well as lay chairperson, recommend new judges.
But a report by GRECO, the Council of Europe’s corruption prevention body, said it has a number of concerns about the proposed commission.
The fact that judges would be in a “clear minority position” does not meet European standards, it said.
It added that judges should be a “substantial part” of any appointment commission and asked the Government to rethink the legislation to avoid creating a system in which politicians have undue influence over the appointment process.
Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone said she would “obey the Whip and I will vote with a heavy heart for a lot of this”.
She added that she was sorry to “speak negatively about a Bill that my own Minister is putting forward” but felt it was “an insult to the profession of which I’m a proud member”.